Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA)

In 2021, ALMA will be a little different…

  • Because of the ongoing pandemic, it will be online.
  • It will be shorter (no all-day zoom calls here) and it will be more focused on one aspect of arts, culture and creative placemaking. Specifics, however, are still being finalized.
  • Rest assured that it will relate to the ARC’s Arts, Culture, and Creative Placemaking Strategic Plan.

Who should apply (when we start taking applications)?

  • Leaders of all professions who are passionate about arts and culture in their communities
  • Arts and culture professionals who are interested in strengthening leadership skills and learning about the challenges facing metro Atlanta’s arts and culture community
  • Public officials with a desire to incorporate the arts into policy and programming
  • Influencers of the region’s creative economy

Application Timeline

  • To be announced, but anticipate an announcement by the end of September.

Recent ALMA alumni include:

  • Waverly Lucas, Co-Founder/Director, Ballethnic Dance Company
  • Susan Mitchell, Executive Director, Dunwoody Nature Center
  • Karim Shariff, Board Chair, Dad’s Garage Theater Company
  • Doreen Williams, Commissioner, Rockdale County
  • Margarita Moldovan, Director of Education and Programs, Cubamerica Foundation
  • Vikki Morrow, Executive Director, National Black Arts Festival
  • Malika Whitley, CEO & Founder, ChopArt
  • Dominique Holloman, Chief of Staff, Office of State Representative William Boddie
  • Ivan Pulinkala, Dean of the College of Arts, Kennesaw State University
  • Marion Phillips, Economic Development Research Analyst, Georgia Power
  • Donna Jackson, Principal, Clayton County Public Schools
  • Sarah LaDart, Economic Development Manager, City of Milton
  • Emily Lightner, Executive Director, Cultural Arts Council of Douglasville

ALMA participants are selected by the ALMA steering committee, a group of Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) staff and selected ALMA alumni. The committee seeks to select a diverse group of individuals with respect to ethnicity, gender, age, geography, profession, community service, and demonstrated leadership.


  • Cost is to be determined, but it will be significantly less than a typical year.
  • (In a typical, non-pandemic year cost has been: $700 for employees or owners of private sector businesses and employees of government agencies or schools; $350 for employees of nonprofits and working, self-employed artists. *A limited number of partial scholarships are available.)

2021 Class Schedule

  • TBD, starting in February or March 2021

ALMA Speakers

Past speakers include:

  • Joe Bankoff (Georgia Tech and Chair of the Fulton County Arts Council)
  • Karen Paty (Executive Director, Georgia Council for the Arts)
  • Shanequa Gay (artist)
  • Bem Joiner (President and CEO, Atlanta Influences Everything)
  • Amir Farokhi (City Council, City of Atlanta)
  • Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center)
  • Carlton Mackey (Director, Ethics & the Arts, Emory University)
  • Josh Jackson (Editor-in-Chief, Paste Magazine)
  • Lain Shakespeare (Corporate Citizenship Director, MailChimp)
  • Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director, Aurora Theatre)
  • Senator PK Martin (Georgia Senate)
  • Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission)
  • Julie Rhoad (President, The AIDS Quilt)


“I went to [an ARC workshop session on economic competitiveness] today and WOW.  It was great!  ALMA really helped me feel comfortable doing something like that and joining in the conversation.  I feel like what we learned and discussed in ALMA gave me the tools and ignited my passion to participate more in shaping our region.”

Gretchen E. Butler, Theatrical Outfit; 2017 ALMA graduate


Contact Josh Phillipson

Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta (ALMA) is a program of the Atlanta Regional Commission. ARC is the regional planning agency for the Atlanta region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta.

NOTICE: Gov. Brian Kemp has extended a public health emergency declaration and a statewide shelter-in-place order for older adults and medically fragile residents through June 12.

The Atlanta Regional Commission office at 229 Peachtree Street, NE Atlanta, is closed to the public until further notice. All employees are working remotely and conducting business operations. ARC employees can be contacted directly during normal business hours. However, if you need immediate assistance call 404-463-3100.

If you are seeking resources for older persons and individuals with disabilities, contact us at404-463-3333 or visit

Learn more about impacted programs, meetings, and events as well as helpful resources for businesses and local governments…